The Spot: Lauren Boebert’s odds of staying in Congress just got better

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Colorado Republicans are right to be cautiously optimistic about the next year — and next decade — of U.S. House races after nonpartisan mapmakers debuted new district lines Wednesday.

The lines are only preliminary and will change but the Congressional Redistricting Commission is starting with a map that would cement three districts as reliably Republican and give the Grand Old Party an opportunity of winning a fourth in strong Republican years.

That’s big news for Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert, who represents the western 3rd District.

“Needless to say, the 3rd will remain a rural district,” said Justin Gollob, a political science professor at Colorado Mesa University. “The district is predicted to remain Republican and back-of-the-napkin calculations indicate the preliminary plan may help the Republican Party.”

As of June 15, the 3rd District proposed in Wednesday’s map had 167,172 registered Republicans, 111,596 Democrats and 218,033 unaffiliateds. Two years ago, it voted 53-43 for the Republican in the attorney general race — a larger margin than the 6% Boebert won by in November 2020.

The mapmakers recommend moving Democratic-leaning Pueblo County out of Boebert’s district and adding Republican counties like Fremont and Park. Some Democratic areas would join the 3rd as well, including Vail and Summit County, but the map would be a net gain for Boebert.

“These early maps will not hold up to scrutiny. These preliminary maps are racist,” said Sol Sandoval, a Pueblo Democrat who is running against Boebert next year.

Sandoval says she’s staying in the race while the map is being deliberated. But a 3rd District without Pueblo or the San Luis Valley could end the campaigns of Sandoval and state Rep. Donald Valdez, who lives in the valley. His campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

“CD 3 is one that may ultimately be adjusted. Some of the counties in CD 3 and CD 4 are interchangeable between the two districts,” said Ryan Winger, a pollster at Magellan Strategies. Republican Rep. Ken Buck’s 4th District would gain Pueblo and the San Luis Valley.

By placing Vail in the 3rd District, the draft map would end residency questions surrounding state Sen. Kerry Donovan, Boebert’s top Democratic challenger, who lives in Vail. But it might be harder for her to actually top Boebert.

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Top Line

Libertarianism is uniquely Coloradan, and the now-national party celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

Capitol Diary • By Saja Hindi

Working moms

A couple of months ago, The Post wrote about how women, particularly mothers, weren’t returning to the workforce as quickly as everyone else — both in Colorado and across the country. Experts cited a host of reasons, including the state’s high cost of child care.

Here’s an update: While most demographic groups have made gains in employment numbers from January 2020 to May 2021 — working mothers included nationally — there’s a lag in Colorado.

According to the nonpartisan Common Sense Institute, working moms’ participation in the Colorado labor force is 6.8 percentage points less than in January 2020. The rate for women without kids is also down by 5 percentage points just in the last month.

That wasn’t the case for working dads or men without kids.

Kristin Strohm, president and CEO of the Common Sense Institute, said leaders need to find out what is going on in Colorado that is making it so hard for women to get back to work.

“It’s actually quite shocking,” Strohm said. “I thought that by now, Colorado would have at least kept pace with what was going on nationally, so I still think that there is definitely some work that needs to be done. … We’re at the point where this is becoming an urgent crisis, a silent crisis, and it’s a shame that we don’t have more leaders looking at this and trying to figure out a solution, because our economy and Colorado cannot recover without women getting back to work.”

Advocates like Executives Partnering to Invest in Children (EPIC) have been working with the business community and lobbying the state legislature for laws like SB21-236, which Gov. Jared Polis signed last week. It creates new grant programs worth about $35 million to increase early childhood education capacity (including employer-based childcare) as well as retaining child care and early education teachers.

Polis also signed bills recently to create a state department that’ll implement universal pre-K and decrease some regulations for child care centers

More Colorado political news

  • Colorado’s sixth new gun law of the year was signed this week.
  • New Colorado laws take aim at tax breaks for the wealthy.
  • You’ll still be able to get takeout and delivery of your favorite cocktails for at least another four years.
  • At Colorado’s Capitol, prosecutors no longer rule the roost.
  • An explanation of the policing bills that passed in this year’s session.
  • The state’s drug monitoring database isn’t working, according to an audit.

Federal politics • By Justin Wingerter

Just the links

  • Colorado guides say they can’t get enough permits on federal land.
  • Four scenes from this year’s Western Conservative Summit.

Mile High Politics • By Conrad Swanson

Reparations in Denver?

A small band of U.S. mayors — Denver’s Michael Hancock among them — have pledged to offer Black residents in their cities reparations for slavery in the hopes that the federal government will follow.

The details of how it’ll work are sparse. The Associated Press reported that the group of mayors has no information on how much reparations would cost, how they’d be funded or who would get them. Local committees with representatives from Black-led organizations will have to decide those variables in each city.

The group, Mayors Organized for Reparations and Equity, said on its website that the conversation surrounding reparations for Black Americans has been stuck in the realm of the hypothetical since the end of the Civil War. Broaching the topic of reparations is one way to confront and dismantle structural and institutional racism, the group stated.

“Our coalition stands on the belief that cities can — and should — act as laboratories for bold ideas that can be transformative for racial and economic justice on a larger scale,” according to the website.

While Hancock is working to figure out the details locally, so too will the mayors in St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo.; Los Angeles; Providence, R.I.; Austin, Texas; St. Paul, Minn.; and four others.

Also in the group is Michael Tubbs, the former mayor of Stockton, Calif., who launched the country’s first universal basic income program. A similar effort, the Denver Basic Income Project is now underway and Hancock has given it his blessing, though he has not committed any city money toward it.

More Denver and suburban political news

  • Denver City Council will vote Monday on whether to give a $9 million, two-year contract for jail meals to Aramark — a company repeatedly accused of serving rotten or maggot-ridden food.
  • Australia may hold the key to breaking up Interstate 25 bottlenecks.
  • Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s nominee to be the next Denver International Airport CEO is mentioned by name in search warrants served by Los Angeles County deputies.

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